Social Inclusion


In “Putting all citizens on more even footing” (Hamilton Spectator; 2007/02/22), Bill Dunfy reports about a Hamilton City Council adoption of an exciting-looking Social Inclusion Policy.

Subsidized transit fares for that city’s poor as early as July could be simply the first of many progressive, far-reaching effects that change “everything from the way user fees and policies are set to the way the city buys goods or builds roads.”

source: City of Hamilton Social Inclusion Policy (ECS07014) (City Wide)

In 2001, in response to a number of alarming demographic trends, Hamilton City Council approved a Social Vision document. It is the conceptual/philosophical framework upon which the City of Hamilton
has developed a number of practical actions and strategies.

The Social Vision document articulates a social vision for the City of Hamilton and suggests how the vision could be implemented:

  • children and families
  • skills development
  • affordable housing

The Social Vision document is founded upon 4 key values:

  • democracy
  • active citizenship
  • social justice
  • inclusion

The key goals of the Social Vision document are:

  • pursue new ways to enable citizens to share their views and shape city life
  • increase the awareness about, monitor and improve the well-being of the community and try to develop the sense of “shared” community responsibility to so so
  • ensure that basic needs for food, clothing and adequate housing for all citizens are met
  • promote inclusion by encouraging citizen participation in the City’s social, economic, cultural and economic life
  • create a learning culture that fosters continual improvement

Practical actions and strategies:

  • an Affordability and Accessibility Issues Task Force
  • an Inventory of Subsidized Citizen User Fees Review
  • the co-convening of the Hamilton Poverty Roundtable for Poverty Reduction

Inclusion – one of the Key Values (see above):

The development of social inclusion policies has a long history (+30 years) in Europe. In Canada, there has been an increasing interest in strong local infrastructure (the integration of physical and social planning and development), and consequently a small number of enlightened Canadian municipalities have adopted inclusion policies (Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver).

Research on social inclusion draws a definitive link between the enhancement of social inclusion in cities and economic growth. It should be an important aspect of a city’s growth strategy (both
population and economic development).

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